5 Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy and Happy

For anyone experiencing back pain it can at times seem overwhelming to navigate the medical system while also dealing with ongoing pain. This blog is written with the intention of highlighting a few fairly simple things you can do to help achieve some level of comfort and pain relief.

Massage therapy increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and increases pain-reducing endorphins. Learn more: Massage Therapy for Lower Back Pain

5 simple tips to help keep your spine as healthy as possible:

  1. Let your spine really rest while sleeping.
    While you're sleeping, all the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated. And you need a mattress and pillows that allow your spine to rest in a supported and comfortable way.

    Your choice of mattress and pillow is largely based on personal preference, your preferred sleep positions, and your specific back or neck problem.

    Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis

    Best Pillows for Different Sleeping Positions

    As long as the basis for the choice includes ensuring that the correct support and sleeping position will be attained, any of the many available types of mattress can be helpful.

    See Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort

  2. Your shoes need to support your spine.
    Whether you're walking for exercise or just to get where you're going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. For example, make sure the area of the shoe that fits the back of your heels is snug, but not overly tight, as a good fit in the heel prevents over pronation or supination—or too much rolling of the foot to the outside or inside.

    Read more: Guidelines for Buying Walking Shoes

    Also, consider using shoe orthotics or inserts if you need further balance or support.

    See Shoe Insoles for Lower Back Pain

  3. Enjoy the benefits of massage.
    Did you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to general stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body's natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medications. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.

    Read more: Massage Therapy Considerations for Lower Back Pain

    While it's not the same as going to a massage therapist, having a massage chair in your home can be a practical and easy way to get some of the benefits of a shiatsu or Swedish massage.

    See Massage Chairs for Pain Relief

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  1. Avoid lots of sitting; support your spine when you have to sit.
    The discs in your lower spine are loaded 3-times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a painful back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more.

    The right office chair plays an important role in promoting good posture and supporting the natural curves of your back.

    See Office Chair: How to Reduce Back Pain?

    Also important, do whatever you can to avoid sitting for long periods. Get up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, work at a standup desk for at least part of the day, get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.

    See Exercise Walking for Better Back Health

  2. Specifically exercise your abs and back.
    Your core muscles—your lower back and abdominal muscles—need to be toned in order to support your spine and take pressure off your lower back, which is already under the stress of supporting your entire upper body.

    Unfortunately, for most of us our core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities; they need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. These exercises are simple and can be performed in 20 to 30 minutes as part of a daily routine.

    Read more: Abdominal Exercises and Back Exercises - Getting Started

The topics covered here are simple ways to help support your spine and overall back health. Even when you are in serious pain and are undergoing extensive medical treatments, we encourage you try to remember the simple things you can do for your back as even small changes can help with the healing process over time.

Learn more:

Ergonomics of the Office and Workplace: An Overview

Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

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